The American Academy of Dermatology recently released new evidence-based guidelines for the treatment of acne in both adolescents and adults.

Titled “Guidelines of care for the management of acne vulgaris,” they have been published online in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

“There are a variety of effective treatments available for acne, and dermatologists have found that combining two or more treatments is the best option for the majority of patients,” says board-certified dermatologist Andrea Zaenglein, MD, FAAD, co-chair of the expert work group that developed the guidelines, in a media release from the American Academy of Dermatology.

“Recommended treatments include topical therapy, antibiotics, isotretinoin and oral contraceptives,” she adds.

According to the guidelines, it is recommended that topical therapy be used at the same time when antibiotics are used for the treatment of moderate to severe acne. Once a course of antibiotics is complete, patients should continue using topical treatments to manage their condition. Topical medications, such as retinoids and benzoyl peroxide, also may be combined with one another. Additionally, some female patients may see their acne improve with the use of oral contraceptives, which can be combined with other treatments, the release explains.

For severe acne or moderate acne that does not respond to other therapy, the guidelines recommend oral isotretinoin. Because this medication carries a high risk of birth defects, females must take careful steps to prevent pregnancy while on isotretinoin, and all patients who take the drug must enroll in the federal iPledge program. While some studies have suggested a connection between oral isotretinoin and inflammatory bowel disease or depressive symptoms, the evidence is not conclusive. However, patients should be aware of these risks and carefully follow their doctor’s treatment advice, the release explains.

In addition, according to the guidelines, although limited data has shown that in-office procedures like laser treatments or chemical peels may improve acne, such procedures are not recommended for routine acne treatment. The guidelines also indicate that there is not enough evidence to recommend treating acne with alternative therapies like tea tree oil.

Some research suggests that dairy products, particularly skim milk, and diets with a high glycemic index, such as those high in sugar and carbohydrates, may be linked to acne. According to the guidelines, however, there is not enough data to recommend dietary changes for acne patients, per the release.

“Acne is a highly visible condition that can have a major impact on patients’ quality of life,” says board-certified dermatologist Mark Lebwohl, MD, FAAD, president of the AAD, in the release. “Teens and adults who are struggling with acne should visit a board-certified dermatologist, who can help them find a safe and effective treatment option that works for them.”

[Source(s): American Academy of Dermatology, Newswise]